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Bulgaria under fire over anti-refugee border fence

Published on Jul 17, 2014 6:53 PM

GOLYAM DERVENT, Bulgaria (AFP) - Overwhelmed by an influx of mostly Syrian immigrants, Bulgaria has taken steps to secure its EU border - including building a barbed-wire fence - but now faces criticism from rights groups.

The 30-km fence, standing 3m high and fortified with razor wire coils, was completed this week.

Covering the least visible section of Bulgaria's 275km border with Turkey, it aims to stem a flow of refugees that saw more than 11,000 people enter the country illegally last year - 10 times the annual figure before the Syrian conflict.

The sudden influx caused a humanitarian crisis in Bulgaria, already the poorest member of the EU, as asylum seekers were crammed into deserted army barracks and tents in the middle of winter with no heating, basic sanitation or food.

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